Mr. Cockburn's departure from the evidence of human-induced climate change reminds me of the reality jump Christopher Hitchens took over the Iraq war years ago. But the disaster in Iraq may be child's play compared to the crisis that climate change may cause.
Mr. Cockburn's facts are conveniently incomplete and at times simply wrong. Here is one example. Serious climate scientists do not doubt the historical CO2 temperature lags and even predicted finding it some years ago. Warming cycles are indeed natural and traditionally instigated by "forcings" other than CO2 (changes with solar radiation, orbital cycles, etc.). Carbon traps like the ocean release their CO2 over time in response. The problem is that the released CO2 then becomes a feedback loop that intensifies the warming. The very same lag data show that. So what is scary about our current warming is that if human carbon-burning activities have started the current warming (yes, human-driven carbon in the atmosphere is proven by isotope data) and if the oceans follow the lag model and release their carbon, the feedback on top of our CO2 could be more potent than in past warming periods.
May 8 2007 - 2:31pm